Sunday, 19 August 2007

Relics of the Consecration

An earlier posting about the consecration of the Cathedral in 1910 here explained the custom of tracing the greek and latin alphabets in piles of ash across the floor of the building, as seen above.

Yesterday, Miriam - our archivist extraordinaire - came across these relics of the occasion, hidden in the vaults. The greek letters can be seen in the photograph of the consecration, placed next to the piles of ashes. Each letter was copied into the ashes, traced with the tip of the Archbishops' crozier.

The two canvas rolls, one containing a greek, and the other a latin, alphabet are too small to have reached across the nave of the Cathedral, and so I wonder whether they were used in a chapel - perhaps the Lady Chapel - for a similar ceremony.

I am baffled as to these wooden paddles. They were found with the other items - and would welcome suggestions as to their usage.

8 comments:

Si Fractus Fortis said...

My guess - and it's only a guess - is that the paddles are for use of the Choir in producing the strepitus (loud noise) at the tenebrae services during Holy Week.

Andrew said...

The Dean of Lancaster wonders if the paddles were used for cementing relics into the altars. There seem to be a few of them - perhaps one for each altar - do the numbers match?

Ttony said...

Is it too obvious to suggest that different dignataries scooped ash from a container with them to form the small pile the Archbishop needed?

John Hudson said...

If indeed part of the apparatus of the consecration ceremony, the paddles may have been used to neatly form the piles of ashes.

Judge373 said...

They vaguely remind me of American college fraternity paddles. :-p

Andrew said...

Perhaps they were used to even out the ash? Or sweep it up afterwards?

Administrator said...

I wondered myself about the strepitus, but former choristers tell me that they used their office books to hit the choir stalls!

The fact that they were stored with the other items from the consecration implies, as many of you suggest, that they were related to that event; either to help form piles of ashes or to cement relics into altars (although I suspect something more elaborate woudl have been used).

Many thanks for your suggestions.

Anonymous said...

Are churches consecrated in this way today?